Hello, hello! I know I’ve probably posted about feeling unproductive and all of that before, but I can’t find a specific post, so that’s what you’re getting today. I asked for some blog topic suggestions for today’s post and my friends did not disappoint. One of them asked “What do you do when you feel unproductive?” Honestly, it depends on whether or not I’m actually being unproductive. Just because I feel that way, doesn’t mean that I’m not just being too hard on myself. So, the first step is to evaluate what I’ve done that day (or week or month or whatever) to decide if I’m being my own worst critic. Then, I go from there.
If it turns out I really am being unproductive for the week (I go by the week because we’re all allowed a day for goofing off here and there), I suck it up and write or edit something or do whatever it is that I need to do. Sometimes, I have to accept that I’m going to be unproductive in my writing if I have to do extra adulting (doctor’s appointments, the dentist, meetings, etc.) or if I want to go out and have a life or something, but that’s just being productive in different ways. I have to remember that productivity comes in many different forms.
If I have been productive, I allow myself the chance to take a day off (unless deadlines are involved, then I kill myself with work until I’m done). If you’ve been working steadily and have kept up with your work, one day of doing nothing isn’t going to hurt you. It might actually help. It gives you a chance to breathe and come back to the project rested and ready to look at it in a new light. Self-care is a very specific type of productivity that seems unproductive to everyone else, but we all do it and we all need it. If you’re ashamed of taking a day off, call it a “self-care day” and that helps make it feel more like you’re doing something.
Then again, if I’ve been doing my writing and editing and all of that, but slacking in other areas, I re-prioritize my time for the day. I read (which I always put on the back burner, sometimes for months) or I adult or I devote time to checking in on friends (not as often as I should) or whatever I’ve been ignoring. There’s always going to be something I fall behind on. I have to accept that.
It’s really hard to find a balance where I almost always feel productive. I’m always slacking on one front or another. But since I’ve convinced myself that productivity comes in many forms, it’s a little easier (and a lot more complicated, if that makes sense) to know when I’m truly being unproductive. I think productivity is more about learning to prioritize your time around the things that need to be done. Sometimes, that will mean cutting back on writing in order to take care of yourself. And that’s okay. It’s always going to be a juggling act, and there will be times when you drop a ball or two. Pick them back up and start again. Eventually, you’ll learn which ones you can leave off to the side until you’re ready to swap something out with them. The point is, you keep trying and learning and growing. That’s the most important thing: keep going.